New York State mandating COVID-19 vaccinations for healthcare workers

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FILE – In this Jan. 15, 2021, file photo, Dr. Yomaris Pena, Internal Medicine Physician with Somos Community Care at a COVID-19 extracts the Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine out of a vial at a vaccination site at the Corsi Houses in the East Harlem neighborhood of New York. U.S. health regulators have authorized extra doses of the COVID-19 vaccines in people with weakened immune systems to better protect them from the virus. The announcement Thursday, Aug. 12. by the Food and Drug Administration applies to millions of Americans who take immune-suppressing medicines because of organ transplants, cancer or other disorders.(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

NEW YORK (WWTI) — Healthcare workers in New York State are now required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

On Monday, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that all healthcare workers, including staff at hospitals and long-term care facilities, will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19. This requirement must be completed by Monday, September 27, 2021.

According to the State Department of Health, 75% of New York’s hospital workers, 74% of the state’s adult care facility workers and 68% of the state’s nursing home workers have completed their vaccine series. Following Gov. Cuomo’s announcement, NYSDOH will soon issue Section 16 Orders, which will require all hospital , LTCF and nursing homes to develop and implement a policy which mandates employee vaccinations. This will include limited exceptions for religious or medical reasons.

“When COVID ambushed New York last year, New Yorkers acted, while the Federal Government denied the problem,” Governor Cuomo said in a press release. “Now, the Delta variant is spreading across the nation and across New York, new daily positives are up over 1000% over the last six weeks, and over 80% of recent positives in New York State are linked to the Delta variant. We must now act again to stop the spread. Our healthcare heroes led the battle against the virus, and now we need them to lead the battle between the variant and the vaccine.”

New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker added, “While we have made tremendous progress in getting New Yorkers vaccinated, this pandemic is far from over and more must be done. The data and science tell us that getting more people vaccinated as quickly as possible is the best way to keep people safe, prevent further mutations, and enable us to resume our daily routines. This mandate will both help close the vaccination gap and reduce the spread of the Delta variant.

The Governor’s Office confirmed that Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul’s administration was briefed prior to the announcement.

Additionally, Governor Cuomo also announced that the Department of Health has authorized a third COVID-19 vaccine dose for New Yorkers with compromised immune systems. This is following the Center of Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations in the second week of August. ‘

Eligible New Yorkers can now receive their third dose of the vaccine 28 days after completing a two-dose series, effective immediately. This is recommended by the CDC for people who have been receiving active cancer treatment, received and organ transplant, received a stem cell transplant within the last two years, have moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency, have an advanced or untreated HIV infection or are undergoing active treatments with high-dose corticosteroids.

New York State also recently mandated COVID-19 vaccinations for MTA and Port Authority employees working in New York facilities. These employees are required to be vaccinated by Labor Day. Additionally, state employees and patient-facing employees in state-run hospitals are also required to get vaccinated for COVID-19 by Labor Day. State employees who choose to remain unvaccinated will be required to undergo weekly COVID testing.

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